Actually Useful French
April 6, 2006 7:12 PM   Subscribe

Remerciez la qualité de ce poteau. Il n'y a aucune manière que j'aurais appris ceci d'un film de Jerry Lewis. Ce sont très utiles.
posted by scblackman at 7:23 PM on April 6, 2006

posted by bukharin at 7:30 PM on April 6, 2006

I thought it was funny. He has a charming authorial voice.
posted by mr_roboto at 7:37 PM on April 6, 2006

I laughed. In particular, some of the French translations are much funnier than the English version. For example, "Stop bothering me!" becomes "Parle à mon cul, ma tête est malade" (talk to my butt, my head is sick).
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 7:56 PM on April 6, 2006

posted by homunculus at 8:03 PM on April 6, 2006

If you're going to use phrases like that, I sure hope you're on good enough terms with the other person to at least conjugate them in the second tense and not the polite vous crap you see there.
posted by furtive at 8:07 PM on April 6, 2006

Ta mère était un hamster et ton père sentait des baies de sureau.
posted by furtive at 8:10 PM on April 6, 2006

I still prefer these.
posted by nebulawindphone at 8:12 PM on April 6, 2006

Those phrases, while amusing, are very junior year abroad. While they are for the most part grammatically correct, they are pretty awkward, almost slang (argot) free and pretty much devoid of colloquialisms.
posted by psmealey at 8:14 PM on April 6, 2006

I bought a great book over there when I was a student that had similar expressions in it, but the phrasing was much more au courant, so to speak. I'll see if I can find it on-line.
posted by psmealey at 8:16 PM on April 6, 2006

To wit:
"I think the dress is too small for you."
"Je pense que la robe est trop petite pour vous"

The French are so direct, that if one were to say the above, it could almost be considered polite, whereas an Anglophone would likely find that impolitic or even insulting. A French person would be more likely to say that some is too fat (trop grosse) for the dress. There is kind of a simple beauty in how the French insult one another, but that generally takes the form or a play on words, rather than making a point with an intentional understatement as Brits and Americans more typically do.
posted by psmealey at 8:25 PM on April 6, 2006

The zompist phrasebook might also appeal to folks who like this kind of humour.
posted by zadcat at 8:43 PM on April 6, 2006

scblackman: "Thank the quality of this fence post" There is nothing more humorous than a lousy translation program.

Wow, an eight-year old "humor site." How in the hell have we missed that in the previous 50,704 threads? Seriously, it seems we often have these "make fun of the French" comments. Why do Americans seem to have such a hard-on for the French? Who here is up for insulting Italians? The Irish? Come on. There has got to a "best of the web" making fun of Liechtenstein. Mine those veins harder people. There has got to be some comedy gold left.
posted by ?! at 8:44 PM on April 6, 2006

Some of the zompist phrasebook's items are purposeful mistranslations and say nothing even resembling what the English sentence is. Just to warn you.
posted by oaf at 9:12 PM on April 6, 2006

This also has the occasional "Hungarian Phrasebook Sketch" wildly inaccurate translation:
"Stop bothering me!"

"Parle à mon cul, ma tête est malade"
Literally "Speak to my ass, my head's not feeling well."
posted by George_Spiggott at 10:36 PM on April 6, 2006

... or what lupus yonderboy said ...
posted by George_Spiggott at 10:37 PM on April 6, 2006

European travel guide.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 11:19 PM on April 6, 2006

Nul points.
posted by Wolof at 11:50 PM on April 6, 2006

My hovercraft is full of eels.
posted by slimepuppy at 3:42 AM on April 7, 2006

This kind of thing makes me wonder why Roy "Chubby" Brown and Bernard Manning never really made it in the States.
posted by creeky at 4:05 AM on April 7, 2006

Lame. Zompist is infinitely funnier.
posted by languagehat at 4:22 AM on April 7, 2006

As a french person i certainly thought that the answer to

'Do you have anything to declare?'


'Vive l'algérie'

was so funny that i had to die laughing.
posted by Sijeka at 5:13 AM on April 7, 2006

Even the BBC does it better: How to start a fight and how to pull in French
posted by patricio at 7:09 AM on April 7, 2006

creeky - They fucking love benny Hill. God knows why.
posted by Artw at 9:44 AM on April 7, 2006

Il y a un poisson dans votre pantalons.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 4:45 PM on April 7, 2006

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